Formerly called Sereikiškės Park by residents of Vilnius, Bernardine Garden is situated right in the heart of Vilnius between Gediminas Hill, the Vilnelė River and the Bernardine Monastery.
One special section of the park is the botanical exhibition, which commemorates the Vilnius University Botanical Gardens that once grew here in the 18th century and were the largest in Eastern Europe.
Bernadine Garden is also home to the oldest oak tree in Vilnius, which is approximately 400 years old. There’s also a spring called Minutė on the left bank of the Vilnia River, which is very well known to residents of Vilnius – a staircase with a handrail leads to the spring.
The history of Bernardine Gardens dates back to 15th century when Bernardine Monks were invited to Vilnius and they built the complex of St. Anne's, St. Francis’ and Bernardine’s Churches and Monasteries, and cultivated the marshy springy area by planting gardens with ponds, canals and fertile gardens. Later, an apiary and conservatory were built here. In the remaining part of the Vilnia bend, there was the courtyard of a castle farm, later known as the Sereikiškės suburb, which included dams, mills, and workshops.
In 2013, the park was restored to its authentic 19th century environment and now features sunny meadows, a central square, a rosary and a rock garden with a pond designed by artist Alexander Strauss. The park's main rosary features a glowing musical fountain, and the botanical garden’s plant range was supplemented by an aquatic plant exposition in the pond, while the current rock garden will be renovated. The original name of the park, Bernardine Garden, was also reinstated.
The riverbed of the Vilnia changed in this area several times. The old one flowed where the current alley and gates are along Barboros Radvilaitės Street, thus dividing the park’s territory in half. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that the old riverbed of the Vilnia was finally covered.
Entrance is free